When revolutions rocked Europe in 1848, Frederick Douglass responded almost immediately by framing these movements across the Atlantic in global terms, connecting class strife in the Old World to the struggle over slavery in the New. Yet he also used the revolts of 1848 long after they had ended to discern other, related patterns of protest and repression in the slavery crisis of the 1850s, in the Civil War, and in the rise and fall of Radical Reconstruction. His reflections on these rebellions thereby shuttle between times and locations, weaving together disparate places and events in ways that advance a multilinear sense of historical time. The manner in which Douglass writes through 1848— connecting Europe to the United States and integrating those failed rebellions into a capacious philosophy of history—thus suggests that transnationalism itself inheres in a particular kind of temporal, and even literary, transport.
Cody Marrs; Frederick Douglass in 1848. American Literature 1 September 2013; 85 (3): 447–473. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-2079287
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